PHD2Alarms Image

Program Description

PHD2Alarms is a complimentary program for PHD2, a program used by astro-imagers to track a guide star. PHD2Alarms connects to a running PHD2 program via your network and can be configured to alarm for a loss of guiding, alarm for a loss of connection to the PHD2 program, or to alarm at a specified time. Alarms can produce an audio output and send an email to your mailbox or to a text message forwarding address. There are several alarm sounds included with the program but you can use just about any MP3 audio file as your alarm sound.

PHD2Alarms is written in Java and will run on Windows, MAC, or Linux computers. It requires Java 8 and if your Java implementation doesn't have JavaFX the sound file formats available for the alarm sounds are limited.


Program installation is simple, just download and save the PHD2Alarms.jar file and the javax.mail.jar file to the same directory. If your Java implementation doesn't have JavaFX you will also need the mp3plugin.jar file. The PHD2ServerSimulator.jar is a program used to simulate a PHD2 program for testing the PHD2Alarms program and you may use that for your own setup and testing of the PHD2Alarms program.


To run the program open a Command Prompt in Windows or a Terminal in Linux and type:

java -jar PHD2Alarms.jar

You may also create a link or a shortcut to the PHD2Alarms.jar file to run the program from your desktop. The image to the right is PHD2Alarms running under Windows 10. The program prints a continuous log to STDOUT and this may be saved for debugging purposes. Should you identify a bug, the log output would be very helpful in correcting it.

Program setup instructions are found by clicking Help -> Directions.

High DPI Monitors

On high DPI monitors there has been a problem that the program appeared too small to use easily. This was caused by the Java Swing API not having any adjustment for high DPI displays. I was going to rewrite the program with a JavaFX based GUI which does automatically make those corrections. Oracle however beat me to the punch and released Java 9 which does now correct Java Swing API components for high DPI monitors. Java 9 is available for Windows, MAC and Linux operating systems. If it was difficult to use your copy of PHD2Alarms because you had a high DPI monitor you can upgrade your Java to version 9 and this issue will be corrected.

Java 9 or Later JREs

A wrinkle has shown up when PHD2Alarms is used with a Java 9 or later JRE. For email to function you must specify '--add-modules java.activation' on the command line if you are using a Java 9 or later JRE. If you are using Java 8, this is not required.

java --add-modules java.activation -jar PHD2Alarms.jar

I think this will get cleared up when the status of some deprecated classes gets resolved.


If you have any questions, comments, or bugs to report, please email me at phd2alarms at knutejohnson dot com.

The Fine Print

You may download, copy, and use this software as you wish. I provide no warranty whatsoever and you accept all risk of use up to and including the risk of nuclear detonation as unlikely as that may be.